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#2027633 - 02/05/13 06:48 PM You know that sound...
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
On grands.

When you are seating strings on the bridge, that little click sound.

When you first put your hammer on the pin, that little click sound.

Terminations seating themselves?

Here is my question.

I have noticed on new Chinese grands, when they have not been played for a few days, in a showroom, that the first time I play the notes they do that click. Only once, then no problem. This is mostly with bass strings, but does happen with tenors as well.

My reasoning is that the agrafe metal used is too soft, and just the piano sitting there will actually indent it enough for it to reseat itself once the string vibrates.

It's really quite a puzzle, because it only does it once, the first time you play the note. Afterwards the tuning and the playing is just fine.

Any thoughts?

Thanks, Jean
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Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2027646 - 02/05/13 07:03 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Happens on many pianos. Yes, it's the string sticking to either the agraffe or another metal bearing bar. Another reason to always drop pitch first.

--Cy--
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#2027672 - 02/05/13 07:51 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
Thanks Cy,

With these pianos it happens when you sit down and start to play.

The pianos, being in a showroom, get played at least once a week, and have had multiple tunings and prep.

Why would they still do that?

This is not about tuning, it's about sitting down and playing the piano.

Will they do the same in a customer's house if they only play it once a week?

It's a first for me, all other pianos over the years have not had this "problem".

Regards and thanks again.

Jean
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Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2027681 - 02/05/13 08:18 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I really don't know myself but I wonder if the angle of the bridge pin might not be enough to prevent it from "clicking" itself up a tad?? Or, maybe that isn't what's doing it at all? Maybe the movement of the key, or action or damper is making that sound after setting for while?
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Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

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#2027685 - 02/05/13 08:22 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
Thanks Gerry,

It definitely sounds like it's coming from the aggrafe. But it could be bridge pins.

That is why I am asking.

It is not coming from the action.

And it only happens the first time you play the key. Afterwards, no problem at all.

It is puzzling.

Thanks Gerry
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Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2027702 - 02/05/13 08:45 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
If it's the agraffe, it would concern me. Is it in tight? Is it in far enough? What, other than possibly being cheaply made, else could be causing it? Would it be letting loose a "tink" at a time? If you grab it firmly with a vise grips or something, can you move wiggle it at all?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2027713 - 02/05/13 08:56 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
Thanks Gerry!

I will take a closer look, with a magnifying glass if need be.

The workmanship on these pianos is quite impressive, but if the workers are installing inferior parts (agraffes), I can't blame them.

I still think the problem is the agraffes. If they are already being indented when new, what will happen in five years?

It would be a shame. New agraffes means restringing.

Even though the rest of the piano is perfectly fine, economics would condemn it?

I don't know.




That is why I thought maybe some of you had encountered this problem.
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Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2027719 - 02/05/13 09:04 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I've not encountered it where I'm at but, I have encountered an action what would make a "click" or a "tick" sound when the key was pushed down. I just attessted that to the fact that it hadn't been played in a while. Same with the pedals. Push them once and they make a funny noise but after that, the noises are gone.

Maybe someone else has an idea for you?
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2027723 - 02/05/13 09:13 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
Thanks Gerry,

I know what you are saying about action noises, and I am familiar with those sounds.

This is to my ears a termination problem. I want to know how easily I can narrow it down, if it's an easy fix, or if it will only get worse.

I will certainly check again with more critical ears.

Could be the front duplex as opposed to the agraffe....

I don't know, but I have never encountered pianos that almost every key "clicks" only once if it has not been played in a few days. And it really sounds like termination points.

Even more puzzled I am.

Thanks again smile
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2027725 - 02/05/13 09:16 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Something like a stethoscope might help to hear more where it might not be coming from? Or even a big old wide flat bladed screw driver with a large head with your ear on it might help to determine where it's coming from too. It isn't going to help any if it only does it once though. smile

How many notes are doing it? I have found broken voicing needles in hammers before? Rare but, it has happened.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2027838 - 02/06/13 02:59 AM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1680
Loc: London, England
I first noticed this in early Korean new pianos.

I thought it sounded like stringing but sometimes more like action. I never did really track it down. Sounds like nobody else has either. Diagnostics have an automatic time limit, it only happens once on just a few keys and only sometimes after the piano has been left unplayed for a few days. Add to that, I usually had work to be getting on with.

In my experience it settles down and disappears all by itself after a relatively short while. Probably because it starts to get played regularly.
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2028134 - 02/06/13 02:09 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3789
Assuming everything is tight, try lubing friction points. Capstan, knuckle, rep lever spring slots, key bushings.
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#2028139 - 02/06/13 02:19 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1868
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Jean,

You say that it's a termination noise. So, have you done the "counter-test"? Have you seated strings before playing the first note? And if you do so, is the noise gone?
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Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#2028153 - 02/06/13 02:47 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
When I first prep a new piano, I always seat the strings. After just a few days without being played, they will do that ticking sound. It is not a sound coming from the action, I am positive of that.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2028274 - 02/06/13 06:09 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
Here is my theory, IF the paino's strings are still stretching:

During the few days after a pitch raise or tuning, the bass string's speaking length gives/stretches, but fails to move in the agraffe hole until vibrated by the first key stroke. When that first vibration (or even a strong sympathetic vibration from other notes being played) occurs, the sting equalizes and ...

wa la,

You have the tick. According to this theory, contributing factors could be string coatings or plating, hardness of the brass or coatings applied to the brass agraffe. Any of these factors could increase the likelihood of the ticks, yet not be a permanent defect.

Just a theory.
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#2028285 - 02/06/13 06:24 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: RestorerPhil]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1119
Loc: Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: RestorerPhil
Here is my theory, IF the paino's strings are still stretching:

During the few days after a pitch raise or tuning, the bass string's speaking length gives/stretches, but fails to move in the agraffe hole until vibrated by the first key stroke. When that first vibration (or even a strong sympathetic vibration from other notes being played) occurs, the sting equalizes and ...

wa la,

You have the tick. According to this theory, contributing factors could be string coatings or plating, hardness of the brass or coatings applied to the brass agraffe. Any of these factors could increase the likelihood of the ticks, yet not be a permanent defect.

Just a theory.


Some of these pianos have been tuned 3 or 4 times in the last six months. I don't think the strings are stretching anymore.

But my theory is the same as yours, the agraffes still need to "get worked in".

I am somewhat reassured when you say that you don't think it will be a permanent defect.

Also, what I find puzzling is that if the string can reseat itself after 3 days without being played, I would think that it would throw all the unisons out. But the tuning holds well for these new pianos.

It has been really cold up here, so the heat is on and it is very dry here, so that could be the cause as well.

Thanks very much!
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

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#2028397 - 02/06/13 09:35 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
I have to admit that I don't know how pianos survive the extremely low winter humidity up there.

Of course, here in the south, we have high enough humidity to cause mold on leather, felt, and wood, and high enough to cause piano frames to come unglued. This tends to happen in warmer months in churches and other buildings which are used infrequently. When they are first installed, it can take many months for a Dampp Chaser dehumidifier to wring all the excess moisture out of a piano .
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Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2028463 - 02/07/13 12:12 AM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1485
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Interesting question, sometimes a piano in my shop will make the noise you describe just sitting there. from time to time I have heard this noise in all the piano shops I have worked in. To my ear it sounds like a wound string hitch pin loop moving. I have never noticed a significant change in tuning along with it. But I don't really know what it is. I would think that if it was at the agraffe a tuning change would be linked to it. But who knows?
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2028553 - 02/07/13 05:25 AM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6387
Loc: France
I relater all those click sounds to agrafes.

What it seem to show is that when a piano is played, the pitch is stabilized by some extra tension in the higher segment of wire.

When the piano stop playing the sound length get colder probably, and its tension change then. (is not string vibration absorbed by inner friction, creating heat ?)

I would have a look at the shape of those agrafes, I heard that the first vertical W&L (same provenance than many pianos you have on the market, as Feurich, fro instance ) had that sort of problem, due to their agrafes

I did not read really if this is on grand pianos or on verticals, but the agrafe is the only place that can create those clicks, be it during tuning or later

Possible that one can get rid of them with massaging once the piano begin to stabilize

clicking is well known on pianos tuned very often and played hard, as concert instruments in rental service it is then time to change strings and agrafes


Edited by Olek (02/07/13 05:27 AM)
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#2030458 - 02/10/13 12:28 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1734
Loc: Philadelphia area
I'm not convinced the click comes from the strings. I don't know where it does come from, though, I've noticed every piano that I've heard make the click has a metal hammer rail.

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#2030525 - 02/10/13 01:45 PM Re: You know that sound... [Re: accordeur]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6387
Loc: France
I believe we talk of something else. indeed the noise from agrafes I noticed when tuning more than when playing

metal action rails are more easily stressing the key frame than wooden ones,I believe. (and they are more easily noisy)

Clicks can also be due to hammer centers
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